I-Mode is a mobile internet service developed by the Japanese company NTT DoCoMo in 1999. It allows users to access websites, email, and various online services through their mobile phones. I-Mode is popular in Japan and has played an important role in the evolution of mobile internet services and mobile commerce worldwide.


The phonetic pronunciation of “I-Mode” is /ˈaɪmoʊd/.

Key Takeaways

  1. I-Mode is a mobile internet service developed by NTT DoCoMo in Japan, offering a wide range of services such as email, web browsing, and online shopping.
  2. Launched in 1999, I-Mode gained rapid popularity due to its user-friendly interface and diverse content offerings, reaching over 50 million subscribers at its peak.
  3. I-Mode’s success contributed to the development of modern smartphones, as it pioneered features such as app stores, emoji, and mobile payment systems that are now integral to today’s mobile landscape.


I-Mode is an important technology term because it was one of the first mobile internet platforms to emerge in the market, enabling mobile phone users to access various services such as emails, news, and other online content on the go.

Developed by the Japanese mobile company NTT DoCoMo in 1999, I-Mode revolutionized the way people interacted with digital information and laid the foundation for the modern mobile internet experience.

It not only established an ecosystem of Internet service providers, content providers, and application developers, but also accelerated the growth of mobile communications and fostered the development of advanced and innovative mobile technologies.

Essentially, I-Mode significantly contributed to creating a ubiquitous mobile internet environment that has transformed communication, business, and people’s daily lives worldwide.


I-Mode, a mobile internet service developed by the Japanese company NTT DoCoMo, revolutionized the way users accessed the internet through their mobile devices. Its primary purpose was to provide a user-friendly method to access the internet, send and receive emails, and utilize various online services, all through their mobile phones.

I-Mode was noteworthy because of its convenience, which quickly garnered widespread popularity among the masses. The innovative service marked a significant milestone in the mobile technology revolution and significantly influenced consumer behavior by integrating internet usage into their daily routines.

I-Mode primarily catered to mobile phone users who wanted to access online services, news, weather updates, and even perform mobile banking with relative ease. By offering its users a wide variety of features, such as connecting with people via chat, sending messages, and downloading ringtones and wallpapers, I-Mode carved a niche for itself in the mobile industry.

The service also allowed third-party developers to create and offer customized content and applications, ultimately stimulating the growth of new business opportunities. The popularity and success of I-Mode in both Japan and around the world made it a major driving force in advancing mobile internet connectivity and enabling users to experience the World Wide Web in the palm of their hands.

Examples of I-Mode

i-mode, short for “information-mode,” is a mobile internet service launched in 1999 by NTT DoCoMo, a Japanese telecommunications company. The service was revolutionary at the time, as it allowed users to access various internet services, such as email, shopping, and browsing websites, directly from their mobile phones. Here are three real-world examples of i-mode technology:

Email Accessibility: One of the most significant features enabled by i-mode technology is mobile email access. Users were able to send and receive emails from their mobile devices, keeping them connected to friends, family, and work wherever they go. This signified a significant shift in communication habits and contributed to the widespread use of smartphones for email communication.

Mobile Ticketing and Payments: i-mode allowed people in Japan to make mobile payments and purchase tickets for transportation, movie theaters, and events using their phone. For example, Mobile Suica, a mobile-based contactless smart card system introduced in 2006, allowed users of i-mode phones to pay for train tickets, shop at designated retailers, and even buy soft drinks from vending machines using their wireless devices.

Interactive Information Services: i-mode technology offered various interactive information services such as weather forecasts, news, sports updates, and traffic information. With the integration of GPS in mobile phones, i-mode users were able to access location-based services, such as finding nearby restaurants, hotels, or tourist attractions.Although i-mode was primarily successful in Japan, its influence laid the groundwork for the integration of internet services and mobile devices globally. Today, smartphone users all around the world can access an extensive range of mobile internet services – a concept that i-mode helped pioneer.

I-Mode FAQ

1. What is I-Mode?

I-Mode is a mobile internet service developed by NTT DoCoMo in Japan. It provides access to various internet-based services such as email, web browsing, and news updates on mobile devices. It became popular due to its fast connection speeds and wide range of available content.

2. When was I-Mode introduced?

I-Mode was first introduced in Japan in 1999 and has since expanded to other countries. It was an innovative service that quickly gained popularity and became a major driving force in the growth of mobile internet usage worldwide.

3. How does I-Mode work?

I-Mode uses packet-switched data transmission, which allows for efficient and fast data transfer. Users can access a variety of online services and content through a dedicated I-Mode menu on their mobile devices. These services include news, weather, train schedules, games, shopping, and more.

4. What types of devices can use I-Mode?

I-Mode was initially designed for use on feature phones, but it has since been adapted for smartphones as well. Users typically need a compatible I-Mode device and subscription to the service from a mobile carrier that offers I-Mode connectivity.

5. What is i-HTML?

i-HTML, or I-Mode HTML, is a compact version of HTML specifically designed for I-Mode devices. It allows website developers to create pages that can be easily displayed and navigated on the smaller screens of mobile devices. i-HTML supports a smaller subset of standard HTML elements and attributes, making it more efficient for mobile browsing.

6. How has I-Mode influenced the mobile internet landscape?

I-Mode’s popularity and success helped push the development and adoption of mobile internet services worldwide. Its innovative features, fast connection speeds, and user-friendly interface inspired many similar mobile internet services and set the stage for the widespread usage of mobile internet that we see today.

Related Technology Terms

  • Mobile Internet
  • DoCoMo
  • C-HTML
  • WAP
  • Mobile Services

Sources for More Information


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